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What Happened to Civility?

My friend, Phil Williams, doesn’t anger easily. He’s as centered, balanced, thoughtful, reasonable, and faithful a person as I know. When Phil talks, I choose to listen because that listening will be rewarded, and I’ll be enriched. Neither does Phil write much. As a man of few words, he prefers to speak them, rather than to write them.

But Phil is also human. And so it is that something got under his skin and compelled him to write this post. Since it was so rare, it caused me to be concerned and saddened. I was concerned because it was so out of character. What? Phil rattled? I was saddened because I hurt for my friend.

Opposites Attract

I’m not like Phil. I readily concede I’m a guy who sweats the small stuff. I’ll get myself lathered up about next to nothing, about things well beyond my circle of control. And I’ll be proud of it. Even as I do it and perceive the absurdity and futility of it, I recognize the fact that I remain an excitable boy. That’s why Phil is the valuable, settling presence in my life that he is.

Because Phil is, indeed, a man of few words, we don’t have to communicate all the time. I get a lot of mileage out of what he has to say. Sometimes, we don’t communicate at all between the Salon 360˚ sessions in which we participate. That’s why I find it so disarming to find him chafing at — or chafed by — something so severely.

What Are We Doing?

I don’t know the nature of the burr that got under Phil’s saddle. I respect him too much to ask him. Given his devotion to the truth and telling it, he’d share the nature of his pique if he believed it to be appropriate.

But if we can rile a man like Phil to the extent he was riled, I have to wonder what we’re doing. How and why have we gotten so divided and divisive, so desensitized, so discourteous and disrespectful, so intolerant? What’s happened to civility? And why did we let it go?

We can do better. We have to do better.

Phil, you inspired this video. I hope it helps us find our civility:

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Mark O'Brien
Mark O'Brienhttps://obriencg.com/
I’m a business owner. My company — O’Brien Communications Group (OCG) — is a B2B brand-management and marketing-communication firm that helps companies position their brands effectively and persuasively in industries as diverse as: Insurance, Financial Services, Senior Living, Manufacturing, Construction, and Nonprofit. We do our work so well that seven of the companies (brands) we’ve represented have been acquired by other companies. OCG is different because our business model is different. We don’t bill by the hour or the project. We don’t bill by time or materials. We don’t mark anything up. We don’t take media commissions. We pass through every expense incurred on behalf of our clients at net. We scope the work, price the work, put beginning and end dates on our engagements, and charge flat, consistent fees every month for the terms of the engagements. I’m also a writer by calling and an Irish storyteller by nature. In addition to writing posts for my company’s blog, I’m a frequent publisher on LinkedIn and Medium. And I’ve published three books for children, numerous short stories, and other works, all of which are available on Amazon under my full name, Mark Nelson O’Brien.

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